Harry by MourphineHow Art Commissions Work

What are art commissions?

Want yourself drawn as a ninja? How about a fantastic avatar of your friends sporting your favorite teams colors? From a romantic gesture to a birthday gift, and from getting your OC drawn to a fantastic rendition of yourself, custom art makes a unique and powerful statement! But if you want something drawn and do not have the skills or time to draw it yourself, what do you do? That is where art commissions come in. Hundreds of talented artists can use your descriptions and reference photos to create unique art – bringing the images in your mind to life! This process is called commissioning art, but you can think of it as ordering custom art.

Where Can I Commission Art?

Go to ArtCorgi.com

Call us biased, but we’d love you to commission art right here, with us! We’ll explain how it works below, though we also welcome you to check out our shop or commission order form straight away if you’re in a hurry. ;)

Go to Tumblr, deviantART, and specialized art sites

Though their processes are less controlled, straightforward, and streamlined, there are LOTS of other awesome places to commission art online. Our favorite destinations include Tumblr, deviantART, and sites like Artists&Clients. We’ll explain a bit more about how commissioning original works of art through Tumblr and deviantART works near the end of this page, so if you’d like to venture outside of ArtCorgi to commission art, skip the next section and go straight to the end of the page.

Commissioning Art on ArtCorgi

Step 1: Pick an Art Style

The first thing you need to do is pick an art style you wish your unique piece of art to be in! ArtCorgi.com offers two easy ways to help you find an art style. If you are just getting started with art commissions or do not have time to spare looking through dozens of artists’ styles, you can go through our artist finder. After a few easy questions, the artist finder will be able to get a sense of your wants – such as style and budget. After you have filled out the form completely, our team of experts will match you with three artists that fit your desires and price range. Choose which artist you want to work on your piece, and your artist will get sketching! For those who enjoy browsing through a wide variety of artists’ commissions styles, want to find a very specific style, or want to get a better idea of what type of styles you may like, a great place to start is ArtCorgi’s general catalog. Simply find your favorite artist and order a piece from their page!

Step 2: Submit a Photo and Description

Regardless of whether you choose to use the simple artist finder or pick an individual artist, you will need to submit (1) a description of what you want drawn and (2) one or more reference photos. The more detailed your description, the better. Remember that a real person is going to be spending hours drawing your piece. All of our artists are very talented but they cannot read your mind! To ensure you get exactly what you want, be as detailed as possible in your description.

Step 3: Comment on your Draft

After you have chosen an artist, your description and photo will be sent off! After a few days you will receive a rough sketch from your artist by e-mail. This is your opportunity to tell the artist what changes you want to see. Don’t be shy! Some things to think about include:
  • Colors to be used in the finished piece
  • Composition
  • Expression & Pose
  • Fine adjustments: Are your eyes too small? Your nose too big?
We recommend being as specific and clear with your requested changes as possible. Rather than saying “Her nose looks wrong”, provide feedback like “Her nose should be made a bit thinner and longer, and be given a slight crease at the bottom” and provide additional reference photos to your artist to help him or her improve whatever detail you might like him or her to fix.

Step 4: Show Off your Final Piece

You will usually receive your final piece of art somewhere between one and three weeks after ordering, depending on your artist’s turnaround time. Now that you have your fantastic piece of art, its time to show it off to friends and family! All of our art comes in a high resolution digital format, so you can post it to your Facebook, Pinterest, or Blog. Most of our images receive more Facebook likes than top photos! Another fantastic way to show off your new art is to have it printed – on basically anything you can imagine. We can print your art or you can have it printed by an outside print source, such as Zazzle or Shutterfly. Print your new art on mugs, t-shirts, or print it on canvas and hang it on the wall! All art from ArtCorgi is downloadable in a high-quality, high-resolution format perfect for printing.


Commissioning Art on Tumblr or deviantART

You are probably familiar with Tumblr and deviantART, not as sites for obtaining awesome art, but as platforms for blogging and showing off artists’ portfolios. Though their primary purposes might not be for commissioning art, Tumblr and deviantART are nevertheless awesome places to commission original art from talented artists. The biggest differences between commissioning art on one of these platforms and commissioning art on ArtCorgi.com are that:
  • There are many, many more choices
  • There is a wider range of prices
  • There are more very low-priced options (e.g. $5 commissions)
  • There are sometimes no upfront prices
  • You cannot be sure if an artist is available anymore (listings are sometimes left up even after an artist has stopped accepting commissions)
  • Each artist is independent, and has their own method for accepting payment, completing work, and delivering final drafts
  • Each artist will have different requirements / rules regarding how you can use your image (there is no stock licensing agreement like there is on ArtCorgi)
  • If you do not like your work, you are very unlikely to get a refund
  • You cannot be 100% sure that you will receive your work in the end
The process of commissioning art through these sites is also a bit different.

Step 1: Search for Commission Listings

When artists on deviantART and Tumblr make commission requests available, they typically publish notes / posts explaining the terms of their offering (the various styles they are offering, any restrictions they might have with regard to subject matter or styling, etc.). Many of these posts come in the form of detailed infographics that show you your various options in a visually cool way. The easiest way to find these listings is by searching for “commission” or “commissions” on the site of your choice. You will find a lot of options to choose between; pick at least 10 to 20 that offer prices and terms that work for you, as we have found that of all artists listing commissions, only 2 to 10% will be willing and able to create the art you request.

Step 2: Reach Out to Candidates

Once you have found 10 to 20 artists from whom you would like to commission work, find out how they would like to be contacted. Some only respond to Asks on Tumblr or notes on deviantART, others prefer to be contacted via email, Facebook, Twitter, or a different means entirely. At this point, also take note of how the artist would like to be paid, as some artists on deviantART only accept points as a form of payment, and many artists live in countries that do not accept PayPal.

Step 3: Negotiate Terms

With the proportion of artists who respond to your message inquiring about a commission, your next step is to negotiate terms for the art you would like to commission. These terms include:
  • The price of the piece
  • What the final piece will depict
  • How you will pay (e.g. via PayPal, deviantART points, a check, mailed cash, a gift card, tangible goods, a trade, etc.)
  • When payment will be sent (e.g. upfront, 50% upfront, 50% after final delivery, 100% after final delivery, etc.)
  • What sort of license you will be granted to the work (are you being given full copyright? Or just a license to use it for personal purposes only? Are you allowed to change the work? Are you allowed to share it publicly? Are you obligated to attribute the artist whenever you display the piece? etc.)
  • When the final piece will be delivered
  • Whether you will be given a physical print (or the original drawing / painting / sketch) via mail in addition to being given a digital file
  • How many draft revisions will be granted to you
This stage may take one to three weeks and it could take just a couple of hours. It all depends on the artist. If you really like an artist’s work, it is worth the wait!

Step 4: Select Your Artist

If you have negotiated terms with multiple artists, you have the luxury of choice! We recommend going with the artist who has the most client experience and before/after samples. They tend to create work of the most consistent and high quality.

Step 5: Let the Project Begin!

How the commission is created depends on the terms you negotiate. You may have one or more revision rounds (this is strongly advised), and if you do, we recommend providing advice that is as specific and actionable as possible.

Step 6: Show Off Your Work of Art

Your final commission will arrive in whatever format you agreed upon in your negotiation. Some artists are willing to mail original art to their clients, and if you have asked for original art to be sent to you, be very specific about how you would like it to be packaged and ask for tracking numbers. Please be respectful of your artist’s requests with regard to how the piece is displayed and how the artist is attributed. If your artists asks that you name and link back to him/her every time you post the piece, please do so! It’s fun to brag about awesome art you’ve had made, and it’s even more fun to brag about art knowing you are helping a talented artist gain more fans, followers, and clients.